06 December 2013

The Ashes: 2nd Test, Day 2

Well done champs, well done © Getty Images
2nd Test, Adelaide Oval
Australia won the toss and elected to bat (leading the series 1-0)

Australia 1st innings: 9/570 dec. from
158.0 overs
Michael Clarke 148, Brad Haddin 118, Chris Rogers 72, Ryan Harris 55*, George Bailey 53, Shane Watson 51,
Stuart B
road 3-98

England 1st innings:
1/33 from 21 overs

Michael Carberry 20*, Joe Root 9*
Mitchell Johnson 1-9

Yesterday ended with the game probably sitting 60/40 in England's favour. However, after they completely screwed up in the field they now find themselves hopelessly out of the match with a draw likely the best outcome right now. They dropped vital catches, had a no-ball from their debutant, and on top of it all they lost their captain after mighty Mitchell Johnson extracted plenty of pace from the flat Adelaide Oval wicket to knock his stumps back.

Verdict: We took day 2 after Michael Clarke brought up his 26th Test century, his sixth at the Adelaide Oval from 9 Tests (has scored centuries in three consecutive Tests at the ground) in his 99th Test, while Brad Haddin brought up a century at a venue he loves.
This was followed up by a well composed lower order knock from Ryan Harris - once an Adelaide boy. It was a massive collection of 570 runs for the loss of 9 wickets. Two wickets by stumps would have been great for us, but to have Cook's wicket it was fantastic and tomorrow we can come out fresh and on top.

Play: I have only caught highlights packages of the days play but there was good, positive aggression out there from our boys with the bat and with the verbal antics on the field. The luck we had didn't make our guys perform with complacency. Instead they took the opportunities with tenacity and made England pay. Mitchell Johnson had extreme pace out there which really surprised me as I did not expect him to be so brutal on this track. Alastair Cook was clueless when bowled and Joe Root took a thumper to the chest. It was a splendid sign as come tomorrow all our bowlers will be refreshed.

It will be very difficult to get the 19 wickets required to win this Test. It can be done though if we stay confident and take our chances, which England didn't do and have, as a result, dearly paid the price.

Brad Haddin scored 118 runs after being dropped yesterday by Michael Carberry before stumps, while then also being dismissed off the bowling of Ben Stokes who made a critical mistake on debut by bowling a no ball. He paid the price and England have been caned on day two as a result of making vital errors against two very experienced cricketers. They ended up scoring the highest 6th wicket partnership at the Adelaide Oval. It was also the first double century partnership, totaling exactly 200 runs.

Michael Clarke continues to lead with the bat. This century won't go down as one of the legendary ones, as such, but it was stepping up when the team needed him to and we now stand well poised on the back of his 148 runs. He loves the Adelaide Oval and so far he's had a wonderful start at the newly revamped ground. His average at Adelaide is now 104.75.

Kudos to Ryan Harris as Brad Haddin was starting to run out of partners until Ryano came out to the wicket and played with loads of confidence. Was he batting with one of David Warner's bats?
On top of that he bowled tightly and complimented Mitch Johnson perfectly. His accuracy will be essential for us.

Tomorrow will rely on sharp fielding, aggressive tactics and pressure bowling in partnerships to mentally attack England. Even this evening we missed a few opportunities which ultimately need to be taken on a track like this.

Tough work for England to comeback into this Test and we need to keep rolling them out of this contest over by over, key moment by dull moment. If anything, the pressure on us to overcome their likely tactics of resistance. Still three days cricket to come so lots of hard work ahead for both sides, but after the close of day 1, it is most definitely a very different set of emotions I have tonight as an Australian supporter. Bring on Saturday!

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